Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Budding Artist

July 29, 2014

It seems that every other person I meet in New Mexico is an artist in one medium or another. My mother took oil painting classes at a local college in Oklahoma where she lived when she was in her late sixties and she had talent. She eventually talked my brother, Wes, into acrylic painting and he painted some beautiful Arizona desert scenes, one of which I have hanging on the wall in my living room. Wes kept telling me that I should try it because he thought I would be a good painter.

I started out taking basic drawing lessons from Penny Espiritu in her Le Spirit Art Shop on New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This went well so I started taking acrylic painting lessons from her and we started out painting a New Mexico sunset (they are absolutely phenomenal). She did not tell me when we began that sunsets are most difficult to paint so I plunged ahead in full confidence that I could do this.

Below is my first result. Feel free to make any constructive comments. I am, of course, still in the learning stage, but I'm determined to master this medium and go on to others. As you will note, I was not happy with the end result. I just felt the blue color was a disconnect on the clouds as well as the other mountain range. See the changes in the second painting.

"Delicious Sunset" by CCC 

"Delicious Sunset" updated by CCC
Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr, Photographer, for both shots of my first painting.

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Red Hatters Travel to Historic Old Mesilla, New Mexico

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Red Hat Society New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter members of Alamogordo, New Mexico traveled to Old Mesilla, NM to engage in the official Red Hat Society sport of shopping and, of course, a lovely lunch. On the way, we stopped to pick up a friend, Mildred Evascovich, who formerly lived in Alamogordo and now resides in Las Cruces, N. M.

There are a number of lovely shops displaying pottery, jewelry, paintings, clothing, shoes, etc. etc. Prices are reasonable and we took great advantage by buying a number of items. One I really like is a sculpture of a roadrunner bird and I just had to have it. Others bought shoes, clothing and paintings.

After a short rest in the center of the Plaza, we went to the Double Eagle Restaurant which has been placed on the United States National Register of Historic Places by the Department of the Interior. In 1970, Robert O. Anderson (born in Roswell, N.M.) bought the building and turned it into a restaurant. He was president of Atlantic Richfield Oil. He and interior designer , John Miegs, brought in all the crystal, art and antiques. Anderson named the restaurant after money and the $20 gold piece was called the Double Eagle.

In 1984, C. W. "Buddy" Ritter and his wife, Margaret became the owners and they have added to the extensive collection of turn of the century art and antiques.

At the Double Eagle entry you will walk through the post-Civil War 1,000 pound cast iron gilded gates to a shaded entry way to the massive antique oak front door. The lobby sports a littering, gilded, baccarat crystal chandelier hanging from the pressed tin ceiling. To the left is the 30 foot hand-carved oak and walnut Eastlake style bar framed with four Corinthian columns in gold leaf. The back bar is illuminated by two Imperial French floral "coronas": each over 5 feet tall, with 23 lighted brass flowers, some of which have blue or white Lalique crystal rosette shades. Hanging above the bar are two magnificent, classic French Baccarat crystal chandeliers measuring seven feet tall and three feet wide. The ceiling is of highly decorated pressed tin accented with 18 karat gold.

One massive oil work hanging on the wall inside is "Stacey", circa 1900-1910 which came from the estate sale of the notorious New Mexico madam, Silver City Millie. Millie, finally forced out of "business", held her estate sale well before her death. Buddy Ritter thought there might be some items of interest and convinced his reluctant wife to drive to Silver City with him after he told her the sale was in a warehouse and not the house of ill repute. Still, she just couldn't imagine that woman having anything she would want in her home or the Double Eagle. As they walked into the warehouse, Millie called out in her loud rambunctious voice, "Buddy Ritter! I would know you anywhere! You look just like your grandfather!"

Mrs. Ritter simply turned, walked outside, got into the car, locked the doors and stared straight ahead. Mr. Ritter, though stunned himself at the reception, purchased several items for the Double Eagle. It was an extremely long and silent trip on the return home.

The Lew Wallace Salon was named after a Territorial Governor who wrote the famous novel "Ben Hur". Several art works adorn the walls and there is an 1857 map of New Mexico and Arizona showing Mesilla as the Capitol of Arizona with both territories extending to California.

The restaurant is massive and there are numerous rooms, The Gadsden Room, The Billy The Kid Patio, The Maximilian Room and the Isabela Ballroom, which I won't write about here. However, there is one other room that should be mentioned:

The Carlotta Salon - The Ghost Room

Named for Marie Charlotte, born in 1840, a Princess of Belgium. She was the wife of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria. In 1864, Napoleon sent troops to Mexico to support the installation of Maximilian and Marie Charlotte as Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlotta of Mexico. Their reign lasted until 1867 when Maximilian  was executed and Carlotta was exiled to Belgium.

There are two oval portraits on one wall, of the original owners of this home, Senor and Senora Maes. It was a home from 1849 until the 1960's, housing some of the Mesilla Valley's most prominent families. The Maes Family were import/exporters in Santa Fe and, after the Mexican-American War of 1846-1847 and the conquest and confiscation of the northern half of Mexico to be the western half of the United States, they moved south to help found Mesilla as a permanent Settlement. With such a large house, there were many servants, one of which was a teenage girl named Inez. The oldest Maes boy was named Armando and he fell in love with Inez. Senora Maes was adamant that her son should not marry a maid. She had planned to make a marriage for him with another wealthy family in Chihuahua City or maybe even Mexico City.

Senora Maes fired Inez, sent her from the house and forbade Armando from ever seeing Inez again, but love will find a way. One day Senora Maes came home unexpectedly, from a trip and found Armando and Inez entwined in Armando's bedroom - now the Caroltta Salon. She was so outraged, she grabbed a pair of sewing shears, attacking Inez and stabbing her to death. In the struggle, she accidentally stabbed Armando. He spoke one word "Inez" before slipping into a coma and he died three days later.

It is said that the ghosts of the young lovers haunt the Carlotta Salon and the restaurant to this day. If the restaurant isn't overly busy, someone will usually take you into the salon and tell the story. Today, it was very busy and a lady who had just heard the story, Blanca from San Antonio, Texas, related it to the Red Hatters as we stood around the large elegantly set dining table in the middle of the room.

Before I forget to mention it, the food is delicious, reasonably priced, and very well prepared.

L to R: VQ Penny, Alice, Margie, friend Mildred, Dorothy E. and Darla taking a shopping break in the plaza

Mildred and Dorothy E. in the Double Eagle. It turns out that they've known each other for years.
Margie and Alice. Margie is always creating new fun hats.
VQ Penny, our birthday girl in July.
L to R: Darla, Margie and Alice waiting on that delicious food to appear
L to R: Mildred, Dorothy E. and VQ Penny
VQ Penny and Queen Ladybird (Carla) (Photo by Darla Shelley)
Blanca, a teacher from San Antonio, Texas relating the ghost story

Hope you enjoy reading some of the history of the Double Eagle Restaurant. To learn even more, their web address is: double-eagle-mesilla.com  Thanks to the Double Eagle establishment for their comprehensive brochure which was of tremendous help in writing this blog today.

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Red Hatters Attend IMAX Theater and lunch at Carino's

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter members of the Red Hat Society gathered at the IMAX Theater in Alamogordo, New Mexico on Saturday, July 12, 2014 to view "Tornado Alley". It was indeed spectacular and made one feel as if they were in the middle of a tornado. We learned about storm chasers and all the safety creations they built to keep their people safe as they filmed and experienced these nature made phenomena. It was definitely a relief to experience this horrendous occurrence in a theater and not in real life.

Afterwards, we drove to Carino's Italian Restaurant in Alamogordo for a lovely lunch.

A Starcharger rocket parked near the IMAX Theater waiting to be installed on the grounds of the New Mexico Museum of Space History
Mike and Marian Ruth. Mike wanted to see the film and he fit right in with the group.
Alice, digging for her money to pay for her ticket
L to R: Margie, the ticket seller, and VQ Penny
So happy to see Lu felt well enough to meet us at the restaurant
L to R: Donna C., Margie, Alice and VQ Penny enjoy the bread and oil
Miriam and Mike
There were a couple of group photos which did not turn out because the setting was wrong on my camera so I was there, just not in a picture this time. It was an enjoyable outing and we determined that we will drive to Old Mesilla (near Las Cruces) on our next event to shop and dine. We also sang and kazoo'd VQ Penny celebrating her birthday.

This is all I have to say for now.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Alamogordo, NM 4th of July Parade

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stephanie DuBois, a resident of Tularosa, New Mexico, is running for Otero County Commissioner of District 2 and had a spot in the July 4th Parade in Alamagordo. I'm not in her district so I can't vote for her, but wanted to show my support by marching in the parade. Chris Jones, another loyal Democrat also joined us marching and handing out candy to the children.

Stephanie's father, 93 years young Stephen DuBois who is a Pearl Harbor Survivor, rode along in the decorated van with her.

I have no idea how many units were in the parade, but from my point of view, it looked fairly long and there were many families along the parade route waving small American flags and applauding. It was a great parade for a town the size of Alamogordo.

L to R: Carla Kerr, Stephanie DuBois and Chris Jones

Dungan Fire Department and they do love serenading everyone with their sirens and bells
Stephanie and Carla decorating the van
These must be the most patient horses in the world-look at all that paint!
Another shot of the horses-they were really quite beautiful
There was a huge contingent of bikers in patriotic decor
This is a particularly spectacular arrangement
A shot of our decorating skill
Adorable girl with her mother waiting for the parade to start
Stephanie just couldn't resist putting this sign on the back!
One of many old cars in the parade
I'm ready to roll with my bag of candy
The parade is moving out
We have limited photos this year because my darling Doug was not feeling well and I am just thankful he came long enough to take these shots.

Later in the evening, we sat on our front sidewalk and watched the official fireworks display at the New Mexico Museum of Space History which is about two miles from us and our house is at about the same elevation so this is a perfect spot to view the display. The fireworks were beautiful.

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Red Hatters View "Dragonfly"

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter of the Red Hat Society enjoyed viewing "Dragonfly" the movie and a potluck luncheon in the lovely home of member Lu Mattson who is, among other things, quite an accomplished artist.

"Dragonfly" was released February 22, 2002 starring Kevin Kostner as Dr. Darrow, Kathy Bates as his neighbor/attorney Mirian Belmont and Linda Hunt as Sister Madeline, a nun who investigates near-death experiences. The movie was panned by the critics and flopped at the box office.  I guess one could call it a chick flick because we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Joe and Emily Darrow are doctors in a Chicago hospital. Seven months pregnant, Emily travels to Venezuela to help natives in the Amazon Basin area. She dies when a bus is hit by a landslide and plunges into the river below. Her body is not found by local authorities.

One night Joe is awakened by his wife's dragonfly paper weight falling and rolling across the room. Emily always had a passion for dragonflies and had a birthmark resembling one on her shoulder. Joe starts visiting Emily's patients at pediatric oncology in the hospital. A child is brought into the hospital unconscious. Joe hears this child calling his name and follows staff trying to revive him without success - the child's heart flat lines.  As Joe approaches the child, his heart begins beating again.

The following afternoon Joe returns to the child who asks him if he is "Emily's Joe" and tells him she sent him back to tell Joe something. All over the room are drawings of a curvy cross, but the boy doesn't know what this curvy symbol means. Telling about his near death experience, the boy says he saw a light, and a woman showing him an image of Joe, and that the cross symbol was what he saw at the end of the rainbow. Later, Joe, passing by another boy's room, sees the same drawing. This boy immediately knows who Joe is and tells him he must "go to the rainbow."

On arriving home, Joe's parrot mysteriously goes into a rage breaking a flower pot making the same wavy cross symbol drawn in the spilled soil on the floor.  Joe spots a dragonfly outside the window and briefly sees Emily reaching for him. Joe's neighbor, Miriam Belmont, tries to talk him back into reality. Instead, he goes to Sister Madeline, a controversial nun. She advises Joe that Emily is trying to contact him.

The breaking point occurs at the hospital when Joe is alone with a clinically dead patient and hears Emily speaking through the patient calling his name, but no one believes him. He decides to sell his home and go on vacation. While packing away Emily's belongings, a light bulb in the room burns out. When he returns with a new bulb, he finds everything placed back in their original places. He then enters the kitchen where a map has blow open on the table showing the curvy cross symbol at several places. A friend tells him the wiggly cross is a map symbol for a waterfall. Joe remembers and finds a photo of Emily posing in front of a waterfall with a rainbow behind her.

He takes a trip to South America to the area where Emily died. His pilot takes him to a tribal village where the victims' graves are located. Joe shows the natives Emily's photo asking them where she is buried. The natives get in a argument. Joe runs off towards the village with the natives in hot pursuit. He comes to a cliff and jumps off into the river near where the bus is situated. He enters the semi-submerged bus causing it to shift and he is trapped inside. But, he calms down when a bright glow fills the bus and Emily appears before him, reaching for his hand. Her final hours flash before him, showing she survived the initial accident and was pulled to safety by Yanomami villagers. He is suddenly pulled out of the bus by his pilot.

Joe runs into the village where he is surrounded by angry native men holding weapons. When he holds up the photo of Emily, a native woman tells him they couldn't save her body but they saved her soul. Perplexed, he follows the woman into a hut where he finds a female infant in a basket. The woman shows him a birthmark on the child's ankle in the shape of a dragonfly.

The show ends with Joe playing with his daughter, now a toddler, having the same wavy blonde hair and who is the very image of Emily. (Credit to Wikipedia for help in writing this synopsis)

We then dined on macaroni and cheese, jambalaya, pink stuff, caramelized sweet potatoes, ham slices, freshly baked bread, pickled peppers, miniature chocolate muffins and macaroons. Potlucks are always a fun surprise.

We added a new member, Dorothy Edwards, from Tularosa, New Mexico, also an accomplished artist, and we are so happy to have her join us in having fun.

Queen Ladybird (Carla) sporting her "Mr. Lee" hat
L to R: Dorothy Smith, Jean Courtier and VQ Penny Pirrung
Margie Purcella
Hostess Lu Mattson and new member Dorothy Edwards
Margie and VQ Penny enjoying great food
The group got quiet for a while
L to R: VQ Penny, Dorothy E., Jean and Lu
The group had a great time visiting and making plans for upcoming events. Red Hatters are terrific at visiting, eating and having just plain good fun.

Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr for taking my picture (forgot to have someone do it at the event).

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Juneteenth Celebration in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Juneteenth Celebration in Alamogordo, NM was sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Friends of the Library (FOL).

Juneteenth is a celebration that occurs every year on June 19. It commemorates the day that 2,000 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with General George Granger.  He announced that the Civil War had ended and read a general order which freed 250,000 slaves living in the state of Texas. Although President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect two years prior, in January of 1863, many were still enslaved until June 19, 1865, with the arrival of General Granger and his troops. This pronouncement was not magical in that compliance did not come easily and many slaves were killed and mistreated for some time afterwards.

This event is now recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance by all but seven states (Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah).

The meeting was opened with a prayer by Pastor Warren Robinson who also happens to be president of the Otero County NAACP.  Warren introduced Nadia Sikes, president of FOL, who then read a proclamation issued by Mayor Susie Galea about the Juneteenth holiday.

Carolyn Peeler, vice president of the NAACP, introduced her husband, Ron Peeler who then read the Preamble to of the Declaration of Independence.  Carolyn and Ron narrated slides of former slaves celebrating Juneteenth.

Storyteller Sarah "Juba" Addison, on the Board of Storytellers of New Mexico, proceeded to relate three excellent stories, one of which was "The Masada in America Ebony Sea" based on historical events that occurred  in 1803 when the sea turned to ebony. This is an incident when the Africans on a slave ship walk into the ocean, still wearing their chains, and drown, rather than to become slaves. Juba, as she prefers to be called, learned storytelling from her grandmother, Sarah Jane, a descendant of West African Griots. She is an exciting storyteller and quite expressive.

Keith Gerber, author of  "The Christian Chronicles", read a poem he wrote for this Juneteenth Celebration. He noted that Juneteenth Independence Day was not only important to people of color, but to everyone because all people should be free and treated equally.

Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication with the New Mexico Arts Council and Camilla Dodson did not arrive until the event had officially adjourned. There were still 15 or so of us visiting and she came in with her driver, Nicole. We arranged chairs in a large circle while Nicole and several of the men brought in many drums so that each person had one in front of their chair. There were djembes, congas, bongos, etc. Camilla began to teach us African songs and how to play the drums.

We had a great time--it was almost like being back in kindergarten--and with her story telling, an hour and a half went by rapidly. Camilla Dodson is from Africa and she specializes in dance, drumming, song and storytelling.

Many thanks to Warren Robinson, Ron and Carolyn Peeler, and Nadia Sikes for all your work in putting this Juneteenth Celebration together.

Ron Peeler talking to the crowd

Juba Addison, a talented storyteller
Sharon Jenkins, NMSC-A librarian talking with Steve Haydu, Holloman AFB librarian. Joel Hamilton and Nadia Sikes in background
Juba Addison being interviewed by Jessica Palmer of the Alamogordo Dailey News
Bob Flotte of radio station KHII interviewing Nadia Sikes, FOL president
Ron Peeler talking with Joel Hamilton
Otero County NAACP President Warren Robinson with Juba Addison, noted storyteller
Attendee Carla Kerr with Juba Addison (Photo Credit: Warren Robinson)
Linda M. Barker enjoying the refreshments
L to R: VP Carolyn Peeler of the NAACP, Diane and Joel Hamilton visiting over refreshments
Keith Gerber, author of "The Christian Chronicles" reading his poem
Camilla Dodson, an authentic African entertainer including dance, drumming, song and storytelling
L to R: Steve Haydu, Karen Hutchison and Denise ready for their drum lesson
Nadia Sikes and Paul Logner
Carla getting down with her bad self! (Photo by Paul Logner)
Jessie on the left really is a drummer and Camilla directing us
Steve, Karen and Denise "got the beat goin' on"
This was my first Juneteenth Celebration and I will be ready for next year. It was just so enlightening and so much fun too.

This is all I have to say for now.